UPDATE: A spokesperson for Stephen Colbert tells us, "Stephen is honored by the groundswell of support from the Palmetto State and looks forward to Governor Haley's call."
Republican Jim DeMint of South Carolina is exiting the Senate before his term is over, which is a win/win all around. He'll leave to head up the Heritage Foundation and Stephen Colbert can take his Senate seat.
Yes, you read that correctly. Under the guise of his blustery "Colbert Report" character, Stephen Colbert has launched stunt presidential bids twice, in 2008 and 2012, attempting to get on the ballot only in his native state of South Carolina. So why wouldn't he try to nab a U.S. Senate seat from the state?
After trying to run for president in 2012, he set up his own Super PAC in order to raise money for his preferred campaign causes (such as rallies for Herman Cain after he dropped out of the race). In a recent interview with Playboy, Colbert explained that he started the Super PAC as a sort of public education masked as comedy. "If you just talk about it, everyone sits on their hands and the reality of it just watches as you talk about it," he said. "But by putting yourself in it, reality has to respond to your actions."
"The Colbert Report" eventually received a Peabody Award for its Super PAC coverage.
The Super PAC still has up to $900,000 left over, although the organization has been formally dissolved. According to a recent Reddit AMA with his lawyer, Trevor Potter, it's publicly unknown how Colbert plans to spend the remaining money, although Potter said he is "confident the money will be well-used."
So now that DeMint is leaving the Senate, Colbert is presented with the perfect opportunity to use that money to run for national office as a senator from the state that calls him its "favorite son."
There's one problem, though: Colbert can't actually serve in the Senate. His Comedy Central contract ends in 2014, which is as long as DeMint's replacement will serve after Gov. Nikki Haley appoints DeMint's replacement. But we certainly hope he has some fun in the meantime.
What do you think? Is it Colbert's time to shine?
Also on HuffPost:
White House Correspondents Dinner
Only months after "The Colbert Report" went on the air, Stephen Colbert was booked to be the keynote act at the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner. Instead of harmless jokes typical for that role, Colbert gave a blisteringly satirical speech while standing next to President George W. Bush, causing more than a little palpable discomfort in the room. <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7FTF4Oz4dI" target="_hplink">Watch the full speech here.</a>
Viggo Mortensen Tells Stephen To Run In '08
After Colbert had been teasing a run for president in 2008, actor Viggo Mortensen appeared on "The Colbert Report" to personally call for a Colbert candidacy. When Aragorn called, Stephen could not deny.
Stephen Formally Announces Candidacy In '08
Stephen formally announces that he's running for president --by appearing on the ballot for the Democratic nomination in his home state of South Carolina, the people of whom he plans to "pander more to" than any other candidate.
Stephen Finds Out He's Not On The Ballot
After an extensive day of campaigning, Colbert visits the South Carolina Democratic Executive Council to ensure that he gets on the ballot. He's promptly denied, ending his dreams of running for president in one state. Interestingly, in 2008, his campaign was "sponsored" by Nacho Cheese Doritos, satirizing the idea that a corporation could fund a political campaign. In the wake of Citizens United, it'sa little less funny.
Obama Orders Stephen To Shave His Head
While doing a week of shows for the troops in Iraq, Colbert interviewed General Ray Odierno. During the interview, Odierno got direct orders from his boss, President Obama, to shave Stephen's head to honor the troops.
Rally to Restore Sanity And/Or Fear
Colbert and fellow Comedy Central host Jon Stewart hosted the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear in 2010 in Washington, DC, as a response to rallies held by pundits like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, whom they felt were fostering ignorance and division with their calls to action. The rally attracted around 215,000 people.
Stephen Colbert Addresses Congress
Upon the invitation of Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Colbert testified in front of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Security in character. He gave a humorous speech describing a day working alongside migrant workers, but got serious at certain points describing the plight of those less fortunate. Needless to say, many conservative pundits questioned the seriousness of the proceedings.
Colbert Formally Files Super PAC
After Super PACs became legal, Colbert saw the remarkable comedic opportunity in building an organization that can dedicate unlimited resources to political candidates. He set up the Colbert Super PAC shortly thereafter for no reason other than to mess with the 2012 election.
Perry with an A Commercial
For his first trick, Colbert ran a commercial encouraging Iowa Straw Poll voters to write in Rick Perry, who was not yet a formal candidate. But Colbert encouraged them to write in "Rick <em>Parry</em>" -- with an A for America.
RIck Perry with an A Confuses
Some stations refused to run the "Parry" ad, saying it was confusing to viewers. Stephen reads off a letter from a local ABC affiliate explaining why in only the first episode of Colbert's 2012 election jamming.
Colbert Super PAC Gets Referendum On Ballot, Sort Of
To show what Super PACs are capable of, Stephen tried to get a referendum on the ballot in South Carolina, explicitly asking whether corporations can legally be people, or just people are people. Despite the major cash donation he offered to make to get it on the ballot, funded by his Colbert Super PAC, it appears that the referendum won't appear on the final ballot since it's "non-binding" (although it does appear on the dummy ballot).
Colbert Announces 2012 Run
After some polls indicated that hypothetical candidate Stephen Colbert was polling higher than Jon Huntsman in South Carolina, Colbert announced that he planned to formally run for president in the South Carolina Republican primary. However, he technically couldn't run since he was in charge of the Colbert Super PAC. But there's an easy fix -- just get Jon Stewart to take over the PAC.